Atmospheric Physics

Atmospheric physicists study the Earth's atmosphere, investigating weather systems, electrical phenomena, and characteristics of the middle and upper atmospheric layers. Read more to learn about training and careers for this profession.

Inside Atmospheric Physics

Atmospheric physics is a branch of meteorology and is related to climatology. Atmospheric physicists use mathematical and physical models to study and understand Earth's atmosphere and its weather systems. For example, they apply the theory of fluid dynamics to atmospheric tides. They also use data collected by satellites, meteorological radar, and research aircraft to explore the layers of the atmosphere, weather systems, and climatic phenomena like thunderstorms. Atmospheric physicists are usually employed as faculty at universities or as research scientists at national labs.

Education Information

Some physics departments offer an atmospheric physics option for bachelor's degree programs in applied physics, and a few schools grant graduate degrees in atmospheric physics. However, pursuing a PhD in Atmospheric Physics is an important consideration, since a doctoral degree is required for most senior-level research positions and professorships.

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